INQUEST

Gakuru was 'paranoid, feared for his life in last days'

The governor also feared some county government staff from the previous regime.

In Summary

• Gakuru avoided eating in established joints during campaigns and preferred local kiosks for fear of being poisoned.

• The governor always complained about his driver Samuel Wanyaga, whom he referred to as ‘mortuary driver’.

Simon Ndegwa when he testified on Monday.
Simon Ndegwa when he testified on Monday.
Image: EUTYCAS MUCHIRI

A witness on Monday said Nyeri Governor Wahome Gakuru always feared for his life during his last days.

Simon Ndegwa, the governor’s nephew, told the inquest that during campaigns Gakuru avoided eating in major hotels and preferred local kiosks for fear of being poisoned.

Gakuru believed it was difficult for rich people after his life to conspire with low-class kiosks operators to kill him.  

The fifteenth witness in the inquest said the governor also feared some county government staff from the previous regime.

Ndegwa, who was the family spokesman during Gakuru’s burial, told chief magistrate Wendy Kagendo that when Gakuru received visitors at his office and was served tea, he would pretend to be drinking but not take a sip.

He said the governor confided in him that he feared that there were people who would not mind putting something in his tea.

He preferred eating in his house, the witness said during cross-examination by senior assistant Director of Public Prosecution Peter Mailanyi.

The governor had ordered a special audit in county government’s accounts because he thought there was mismanagement of resources by the previous regime. 

“The governor would tell me that people like Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua would not want the audit done saying he was an interested party in the last regime,” he said.

The differences between the driver and the governor also emerged after the witness said Gakuru always wondered who assigned him Samuel Wanyaga.

“To use his words, he actually called him the mortuary driver and I remember one evening complaining how this ‘mortuary driver’ was assigned to him,” he said.

Wanyaga was the Nyeri County Referral Hospital Ambulance driver before he was posted to drive the governor.

The governor was also disturbed by a meeting that was held in Mathira by some of his campaign team led by Kinyua Kimuri.

Ndegwa said he was summoned by Gakuru to his Ringroad residence in Nyeri on November 5, 2017, where the governor produced a video clip.

Gakuru was accompanied by other county government officials and an MCA. 

The video clip saved on his mobile phone was allegedly from people who were unhappy with how Gakuru constituted his government.

The witness said he recognised Kimuri’s voice and two other people he named as Victor and Kahindi.

When the governor won, there were a lot of expectations by people who had supported him including Kimuri who had provided his resources and time to campaign for him.

Kimuri is said to have wanted to be the governor’s political advisor but Gakuru wanted him to be the CEC for Water and Environment.

“I let the governor know that I was not interested in the position. But now the governor and Kinyua had an argument because Kinyua wanted that position,” he said.

He said he had volunteered to mediate between the governor and Kimuri.

“I had separate meetings with both. I had a meeting with Kimuri at Ruring’u and his team and I wanted also to pass a message to the governor that they look for a compromise,” he said.

The witness said the governor wanted him to be the political advisor but he was not interested.

In the video clip, Kimuri is heard complaining he had given out his time and resources but was not getting a position commensurate to his contributions.

The clip was later taken to the DCI’s homicide department.

The speakers are also heard saying they would bring the governor down by mobilising residents in all subcounties.

The governor was also cautious with strangers visiting his private residence without his prior information.

He at one time threatened to sack Josphart Maina, his security aide, after strangers gained entry into the residence.

To demonstrate how tense the governor was, the witness narrated how they were having a drink at his residence when Maina dozed off and in the process dropped a glass.  

The furious governor wondered how Maina was supposed to take care of his security when he was behaving that way.

Also on the stand was the sixteenth witness  Francis Kisavi a traffic police officer at Makuyu police station.

Gakuru died on a road accident on  November 7, 2017, at Makenji area in Murang’a.

The inquest will continue on January 27 and 28, next year.